‘Test to stay’ policies aim to keep students in school and out of quarantine

Classroom Progress Report

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — It’s been a nuisance for parents all year long. One minute your child is in school, the next they’re out for 10 days because someone tested positive for COVID in their classroom.

But that may all change. The New York State Department of Health is now giving the green light to local health departments to adopt new policies for kids to test to stay in school or test out of quarantine, a move Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is onboard with.

“We’ll give the support for the school districts, help them look at their plans, help them where we can, but we’re going to continue to highly encourage schools to look at this policy, it’s their decision to adopt it or not,” McMahon said Friday during his COVID press briefing.

But the East Syracuse Minoa Central School District superintendent said it’s not so simple. “The main message right now is that there are more logistics to these next two measures that we really don’t have the logistics,” Dr. Donna DeSiato said.

What we do know right now is that these new policies will require more tests to be made available to schools. Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Thursday that the state has that covered. “What we’ve done is we ordered another one million antigen tests, we’re allowing departments of health to prioritize getting them to students,” she said.

Dr. DeSiato said a meeting is scheduled on Tuesday with Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gupta and other school districts in the county to learn more about each of these policies, so superintendents can decide what, if any, they want to implement.

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